History of the PGA Merchandise Show 60th year
By Mike Hallee “History with Hallee”
The PGA Merchandise Show, now the largest and most influential golf business event, grew from humble beginnings in Dunedin, Florida, in 1954, when a handful of golf merchandisers assembled in the PGA National Golf Club parking lot during a series of PGA winter tournaments. By 1957, the number of manufactures representatives had become so large; approximately 50 by then, the PGA officials leased a tent.
The PGA Merchandise show moved when The PGA of America’s winter tournaments relocated to Florida’s East Coast. In 1963, the show was held at the Port St. Lucie Country Club; from 1964-73 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Now known as BallenIsles Country Club); and in 1974, back to Port St. Lucie, still under circus sized tent.
The PGA Merchandise Show and winter tournaments moved to Orland, Florida, in 1975, where the show was indoors for the first time. In 1982, The PGA of America relocated to the new PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, a mile from its former headquarters. The PGA Merchandise Show was subsequently moved to Miami Beach Convention Center, where it remained for three years.
Due to the continuing demand for increased space capacity, The PGA moved the Show to the new Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in 1985 and again the Show was quickly filled to capacity. As the PGA Merchandise Show grew so did the West Building of the Convention Center, which added 200,000 gross square feet in 1989 and nearly doubled in size to 1.1 million gross square feet in 1996.
In 1998, The PGA of America sold equity share of its golf shows to Reed Exhibitions, the world’s leading trade show organizer. In partnership, The PGA and Reed produce and manage the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando and the PGA Fall Expo in Las Vegas.
Nearly 42,000 PGA Professionals, golf retailers and industry executives from 88 countries and all 50 U.S. states came to the 58th PGA Merchandise Show to launch the business of golf for 2011~packing 10 miles of Show Isles, more than 1,000 golf vendor booths and a full schedule of special events. Product presentations by golf’s top market leaders combined with indoor and outdoor Demo Days, multiple designer fashion shows, teaching clinics, education seminars, career workshops, industry awards, networking receptions and more.
Now more than ever before the PGA Merchandise show is the ideal, global platform that industry leaders, top manufactures, PGA Professionals and golf organizations utilize to grow the business, participation and interest in golf.
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